Thabang Motsei left London-based pan-African channel Vox Africa for the Russian winters and a reporter job at Russia Today, a government-funded network. She gives a refreshing perspective on the journalist profession in Russia amidst a wave of arrests and intimidation attempts against opposition journalists.
" It always raises an eye brow or two when people meet me for interviews for work or out and about in Moscow. The usual question I get is, how do i like Moscow and what do I do here? I'm happy to say that so far Moscow has been nothing but an added great adventure in my Life's Chapter. It's a world of extremes, and no day is ever the same or boring. I guess it befits my life as a journalist and with the fact that I'm an adventurer at heart, a gypsy.
Working for Russia Today [RT] has been a great achievement and one of the best things about working as a foreign journalist is that, I'm allowed to be me,more than anything else, which makes going to work pleasant. I have wonderful and talented colleagues and above all we are given opportunities we would never have access to in other news networks, for instance going to war zones or covering business stories which sometimes may be left for our male counterparts but RT there's no discrimination.
I also enjoy the fact that I'm not just a number, but I'm a valued member of a team who wants to be better journalists and news people and even though our manifesto is not main stream news, it's still one that's needed. After all Russia is rich in history and as one of the biggest country in the world, it's naive to think their way of life and opinion would be the same as the rest of the world. This is a country that's trying to redefine itself Post Soviet Union time. I believe i have arrived at the the beginning of that re-definition process, which makes things really exciting.
Russian media is split into different camps and the blogsphere is also growing, were more people and journalists are looking to get vocal about their politics. Like in any country, there are pro government agencies and there are a small number of "unbiased" media. I believe with the way things are developing in Russia, things will be changing in both predominately controlled agencies and private ones. You only have to see how the election and post election rhetoric has been. It's been a balance of both sides."